As Americans celebrate our nation’s 238th birthday anniversary, we have plenty to argue about, and many of the topics involve our government.
Our bureaucracy is choking us. Our leaders are ignoring us. They’re all crooked. Our government is so preoccupied with partisan infighting that it can’t get anything done domestically and is embarrassing us overseas.
Regardless of our respective positions on those and other assertions, we can find citizens who agree with us and citizens who will decide that we, too, are part of the problem.
We can protest in front of the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court building, our 50 statehouses and thousands of county and city government buildings. And unless we get excessively rowdy, we can express ourselves without fear that tanks will roll our way with hostile intent or that we’ll be rounded up, hauled away and, if we’re lucky, emerge weeks or months later merely beaten and bruised.
Yes, we’ll end up on security camera videotape, but that also happens in stores and even in parking lots from coast to coast. Yet, as rogue police officers have learned, their actions, too, are often on camera.
Like its 300 million-plus citizens, our government — our country — is far from perfect. But America is still a place to which people flock, not one from which they flee. The United States remains a magnet for people the world over who want what we have enjoyed for so long that we take it for granted. And it isn’t just the economic opportunities — opportunities that, lamentably seem increasingly out of reach even for those of us already here.
Rather, it is what America has always stood for and continues to stand for that makes us so attractive to others. What we stand for starts with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — those unalienable rights that remain precious in this country even as they are diminished or utterly discarded in much of the world.
It is no accident that those rights are contained in the Declaration of Independence, whose signatures by brave men we celebrate today. Let us also celebrate those Americans who defended their new country and the millions who have upheld the Declaration’s ideals in the ensuing decades.
We have plenty to argue about, certainly. But that should not obscure the many reasons we have to celebrate in this country.
Today is our nation’s birthday anniversary. It’s an occasion that calls for joy and fireworks.